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Tech Lab: Pinhole Photography at Dallas Museum of Art

Pinhole Photograph of Sculpture Garden at DMA by Mr. Holga, 2009

Pinhole Photograph of Sculpture Garden at DMA by Mr. Holga, 2009

You missed a quaint pinhole camera lesson in the Tech Lab at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009. How do I know? Because I was there with a very small handful of people. You should have come to the meet-up. The weather held and the photographs looked great.

This was a nice Flickr Meet-up for pinhole photographers. Ted Forbes, MultiMedia Producer at the DMA, gave a solid overview of pinhole photography and demonstrated the principle with a lamp and a cardboard box. Not only that, he exhibited online some very interesting work by Abelardo Morello (who knew you could turn a bedroom into a camera obscura?).

Other DMA staff on hand included Nicole Stutzman, Director of Learning Partnerships with Schools and the Community, and Anthea Halsey, Social Media Specialist. It was a pleasure meeting all the DMA staff.

After about 30 minutes of learning pinhole photography basics, we headed out to the sculpture garden to take some photos. The DMA had some pinhole cameras and film to loan but I brought my own equipment.

When I first heard about the Flickr Meet-up at the DMA and read the DMA’s photography rules, I was majorly concerned about not being able to use a tripod. Fortunately, the DMA sculpture garden has many tripod solutions including ledges, concrete chairs (art and chair, who knew?) and other movable furniture. I took advantage of all three for my shots.

First Shot

My first shot took advantage of the ledge near the stars with a nice view of Untitled (1983) by Ellsworth Kelly and the waterfall in the background. All my shots were taken on Polaroid ISO 100 54 peel-a-part film. This shot was exposed for about 13 seconds. I probably could have gone longer to get more foreground detail, but the darkness does highlight the Kelly sculpture nicely.

Pinhole Photograph of Sculpture Garden at DMA by Mr. Holga, 2009

Pinhole Photograph of Sculpture Garden at DMA by Mr. Holga, 2009

Second Shot

This photograph of Cubi XVII (1963) by David Smith was the one that took full advantage of a concrete chair. The exposure time was only one second. Check out how the lines of the bricks in the foreground fade out and look solid in the background.

Pinhole Photograph of Sculpture Garden at DMA by Mr. Holga, 2009

Pinhole Photograph of Sculpture Garden at DMA by Mr. Holga, 2009

Third Shot

Unfortunately, I did not get the name of the works in the middle and background of this photo. But you can see that I cleverly used a table as my tripod. The table, which almost appears as a body of water in the foreground, was a little wobbly, so I had to stand on one of the legs. This shot was only three seconds.

Pinhole Photograph of Sculpture Garden at DMA by Mr. Holga, 2009

Pinhole Photograph of Sculpture Garden at DMA by Mr. Holga, 2009

Now, I was told the DMA is planning on having Flickr Meet-ups about once a month. So why not join us next time? Come on out, learn something new and meet some people. See you there.

About Mr. Holga

Mr. Holga is our walkabout photographer and art reporter. Mr. Holga specializes in film photography, especially with Holga cameras. You can follow Mr. Holga on Twitter at twitter.com/MrHolga or visit his website at www.mrholga.com.

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